Tim Burton Gets Real About Why He’s Not Interested In Working With Disney Again After Dumbo

Tim Burton has had a long history with Disney, which began with the release of the 1982 animated short Vincent. Amid the catalogue Burton's best or worst movies, the filmmaker has made some memorable motion pictures with the House of Mouse. However, the director has now officially declared that he’s no longer interested in working with the company after he making 2019's Dumbo and explained his reasoning for that decision.

Over the past decade or so, Disney has been putting much of its resources into Marvel movies as well as productions from Pixar and the Star Wars franchise. With this, Tim Burton seems to believe that his signature style no longer fits in with Disney’s new agenda. The Hollywood vet spoke at a press conference at the Lumière Festival in Lyon (via Deadline) after receiving its prestigious Prix Lumière award, and he didn't mince words when talking about the famed mega corporation:

My history is that I started out there. I was hired and fired like several times throughout my career there. The thing about Dumbo, is that’s why I think my days with Disney are done, I realized that I was Dumbo, that I was working in this horrible big circus and I needed to escape. That movie is quite autobiographical at a certain level.

This animator/director's complex relationship with Walt Disney Studios started when he got a job with the company straight out of college, after it saw his short Stalk of the Celery Monster. But in 1984, he got fired after completing his animated short Frankenweenie because the House of Mouse felt his work was too dark and scary for children at the time. He was, fortunately enough, brought back into the fold in the ‘90s to produce The Nightmare Before Christmas, which earned him quite a bit of notoriety. And in 2012, Frankenweenie ironically ended up being released a full-length feature directed by the award-winning director himself.

Dumbo wasn't exactly celebrated by critics and fans. One might argue that it was an unnecessary remake that could have fared well as a sequel. Critics applauded the Edward Scissorhands director for his visual flair, but they weren’t happy with the story’s execution. The baby elephant didn't soar at the box office either, as the movie only made $46 million during its three-day weekend, on a budget of $170 million. It certainly struggled to make a profit for the Walt Disney Company and, per Deadline, it ultimately lost a considerable amount of cash. As a result, it currently stands as one of the lowest-grossing live-action Disney remakes.

The 64-year-old Tim Burton also made it clear he has no plans to make a Marvel movie. As for what’s next for this iconic director is directing and producing Netflix’s new supernatural comedy show Wednesday. This series is absolutely up Burton’s alley in that he seemingly had plenty of creative freedom. This gives viewers the chance to see his dark-comedy style in full force, and the results could be delightful. Burton's series seems to stand apart from what we’ve seen in The Addams Family cartoons or movies, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's unfortunate that he won't be reteaming with Disney, but it's still comforting to know that Burton is still set on making content.

You can see his classic style in the upcoming series Wednesday by using a Netflix subscription to stream the show when it premieres on November 23. Those who are also curious about Dumbo can grab a Disney+ subscription and check it out.

Carly Levy
Entertainment Writer

Just your average South Floridian cinephile who believes the pen is mightier than the sword.